Coroners Inquests in Gloucestershire from The Gloucester Journal 1807
Coroner's Inquests were usually held within the space of 48 hours following a death that appeared to be of a suspicious or unexplained nature. They were usually held in a local public-house, ale house, municipal building, or parish workhouse, but sometimes in the building where the death occurred.
The Coroner usually came from a legal or medical background and more often than not, appointed for life by the respective County. The Coroner and a Jury of between 12 and 24 persons, usually men of substantial standing, were empanelled to examine the body, hear witnesses, and the Jury then to come to a Verdict as to Cause of Death.
The account of the Inquest appearing in local newspapers, included the name of the deceased, where they died, and how they died. Sometimes, age, occupation, parish or address, and other relatives' names can be found. In later years when Hospitals appear, people can be dying away from their parish after having been admitted to that institution, and the Inquest is therefore conducted where the death occurred, rather than where the person was living.
The Gloucester Journal was a newspaper in Gloucester founded by Robert Raikes the Elder and William Dicey in 1722.
The first issue of the Gloucester Journal appeared on April 9, 1722. Before that date there were thirty-six provincial newspapers published, and of those only six have survived to the present day.
Jan 5. On Friday night, as Mr RICHARD BISHOP, of Birdlip, Gloucester and Cirencester carrier, was returning home from the latter place, his horse fell with him, and he was killed on the spot. The animal coming home about midnight, without his master, the family were alarmed, and immediately went out in search of him, when they found the unfortunate man lifeless in the road, about a hundred yards from his own house, with a dreadful wound on the right side of his head, which must have occasioned instant death. Yesterday an inquest was held before D Wiley, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body; when the Jury returned a verdict, Accidental Death.
Jan 12. INQUESTS. On Wednesday an inquest was taken before John Jefferis, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of Mr JOHN JAQUES, a master carpenter, and bell hanger of great celebrity, of this city, who, whilst superintending some repairs of the roof of the New Inn, was passing along the yard, when a piece of timber falling on his head, he sustained such mortal injury as to survive the accident but a very short time. He was much respected, and an industrious, honest man. Verdict, Accidental Death.
On Wednesday an inquest was held at Norton, before Daniel Willey, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of a poor man, who was killed by the overturning of the Birmingham and Bristol Waggon, (in which he was a passenger, ) on Tuesday night last. The accident, occasioned by the horses taking fright, happened at Norton bridge, about five miles from this city, on the Tewkesbury road; the poor sufferer was thrown out, when a cask falling upon him, he was killed on the spot. Verdict, Accidental Death.
On Thursday an inquest was taken at Cain’s Cross, in this county, before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of a female infant, about two months old, who died in the arms of her father, at a late period of the night, being taken from the house of industry at Stroud, by the mother, who had abandoned the child whilst in a state of intoxication. The Jury, after a minute investigation, returned a Verdict, Sudden Death, by the visitation of God.
On Friday an inquest was taken at Stroud, by the same Coroner, on the body of Mrs HESTER McKENZIE, who fell from a window seat on the mail coach, and was so severely bruised on the head and face, that she expired before medical assistance could be procured. Verdict, Accidental Death.
On Monday an inquest was taken at Huntingford Mill, near Wotton Underedge, before W Joyner, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of the infant son of Mr T COX, paper maker, who was burnt to death, by his clothes taking fire in the absence of the serving maid. And on Wednesday, (before the same Coroner,) an inquest was taken at Crookmarsh, in the parish of Henbury ... on the body of RICHARD HANDS, an apprentice in husbandry to Mr JOHN HEWETT, found drowned in a stream leading from the Marsh Common to the River Severn. Verdict in both cases, Accidental Death.
The following melancholy accident happened on Saturday night, at Moreton Valence, near this city. As SAMUEL PALMER, a promising youth, was standing in his mother’s garden, a person with a gun in his hand, passing hastily through the gate, with the intention of shooting at a small bird, struck the trigger of the gun, which unfortunately went off, and the whole charge was lodged in the body of PALMER, who only survived the accident till the next morning.
Jan 19. INQUESTS. On Monday last an inquest was taken at Bitton, before W Joyner, Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of HANNAH HUGHES, aged 27, found drowned in a dipping well in the North Common, near Warmley. Verdict, Accidental Death. And, same day, on view of the body of SARAH DAVIES, a beautiful female, only 21 years of age, who poisoned herself by swallowing a quantity of laudanum on the preceding Thursday. After a minute investigation of the circumstances, and an examination of the body upon dissection by three eminent surgeons, the Jury returned a verdict, Felo de se. On Wednesday last, a child about three years of age, daughter of THOMAS HOLLAND, bricklayer, of Focles Green, near Ross, being left in the house by herself, her cloaths caught fire, and she was burnt in so shocking a manner that she expired in a few hours.
Jan 26. Mention of several deaths, in neighbouring areas, of deaths by clothes catching fire: CAUTION. AT THIS SEASON OF THE YEAR, OUR FAIR READERS WILL EXCUSE US FOR INTRUDING ON THEIR NOTICE, A FEW HINTS, WHICH MAY AVERT THE DANGER TO WHICH THEIR MOST ELEGANT ATTIRE PARTICULARLY EXPOSES THEM FROM FIRE AND CANDLE. IT IS GENERALLY THE LOWER PART OF THE DRESS WHICH CATCHES FIRE. IN SUCH A CASE, IF THE PERSON REMAINS IN AN UPRIGHT POSITION, THE FLAME, NATURALLY RIDING UPWARDS, WILL QUICKLY REACH THE HEAD OR STOMACH, AND BE LIKELY TO HAVE A FATAL EFFECT. BUT IF SHE IMMEDIATELY LIE DOWN UPON THE FLOOR, SHE MIGHT IN GENERAL VERY EASILY EXTINGUISH THE FLAME BY ROLLING HERSELF: OR, IF A MAN BE PRESENT, HE MAY PULL OFF HIS COAT, AND WITH THAT VERY SOON EXTINGUISH THE BLAZE. IF THERE BE A HEARTH RUG, IT WOULD ANSWER THE PURPOSE BETTER THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER SUBSTANCE.
Feb 2. On Saturday night, as two men and a boy were taking a survey of an old decayed house, at Woodford, in the parish of Berkeley, it suddenly gave way, and fell in: when one of them, named WILLIAM APPERLEY, shop keeper, was killed on the spot; the other two escaped unhurt.
Feb 9. On Tuesday, a young man, named BENJAMIN MOORE, of Tewkesbury, fell down dead, on the road near Ashchurch. He was going to pay a visit to his friends.
Feb 16. On Tuesday last, an inquest was taken at Minchinhampton, before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of ELIZABETH HAYES, who was killed by the vane of thee windmill, on the Common adjoining the above town striking her on the temple, and fracturing her skull, of which she languished about five hours. It is supposed that she must have missed her road from the extreme darkness of the night; and the wind being very high, it is known that the mill vanes were at the time going round with uncommon velocity! Verdict, Accidental Death.
Feb 23. On Friday last, an inquest was taken before W Joyner, Esq. Coroner, at the Old English Tavern, in the parish of St James, Bristol, on view of the body of a new born female child, found dead, and floating on the surface of the water, in a pond near Rennison’s Bath. The infant was quite naked when discovered, appeared to be about a week old, and had received much injury upon the head and face. The Jury, after a full investigation, returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown, previous to the body being thrown into the pond.
Mar 9. On Friday evening died suddenly, at Mitcheldean, at an advanced age, whilst sitting in her chair in apparent good health, Mrs ANN STEPHENS, widow of the late Capt. JOHN STEPHENS, of Longhope, in this county.
Mar 23. Last week an inquest was taken, before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of CHARLES HARRIS, who was killed by a large stone falling upon him, in a quarry on Minchinhampton Common. Verdict, Accidental Death.
The following melancholy accident happened a few days since: A farmer at Eldersfield, in this county, having removed a hay rick, a quantity of rats were discovered in the straw, many of which were shot; and one of the men having laid down his loaded gun, a young man took it up, and levelling it at his brother, said, “I’ll shoot you.” The gun missed fire once or twice; but at length went off, and killed the unfortunate youth on the spot.
Apr 6. Bristol, when JAMES CLARK, tried on an indictment as an accessory, in killing a poor unfortunate girl of the town, on Brandon hill, some time in October last, ... was acquitted.
Apr 27. On Monday last died, in the prime of life, Mr WATKINS, saddler, of Cheltenham. His death was occasioned by a fall from his horse the preceding day, on his return home from Tewkesbury. He was much respected by a numerous acquaintance.
May 18. A few days since an inquest was taken, before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of Mr JOHN HEMMINGS, who was found dead in a path leading from Kings Stanley to Leonard Stanlet. It was supposed that he had fallen down and died in a fit, to frequent attacks of which he was subject. Verdict, Sudden Death by the Visitation of God.
May 25. Wednesday an inquest was held on the body of a child about six years of age, son of JOSEPH GARDNER, white-smith, of this city, who was drowned by falling from the Westgate bridge, into our river the Saturday preceding.
Jun 1. On Friday an inquest was held on the body of JOSEPH BOOKER, a corporal in the 96th regiment, stationed in this city, who was found drowned in the basin of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal, where it is supposed he went to bathe, as his clothes were lying near the edge of the water. Verdict, Accidental Death.
An inquest was held on Monday last, on the body of a child, about three years of age, son of Mr HOPKINS, of the Haw Passage, near Tewkesbury, who was drowned in the river Severn, near his father’s house, the Monday preceding, and taken out at Minsterworth, near this city. Verdict, Accidental Death.
On Saturday night, an inquest was taken before W Trigg, Gent. one of the Coroners for this county, on view of the body of WM LOOKER, a young man, who was watering a horse on the banks of the river Severn, when his horse getting out of his depth, he floated off his back, and was drowned. Verdict, Accidental Death.
Jun 22. On Wednesday evening last, the body of a young woman, of a respectable family in this city, was found drowned in the Berkeley Canal; and on Thursday morning, a Coroner’s inquest was held upon it, and a verdict of Lunacy was given. We are extremely sorry to have occasion to caution the public against giving credit to reports and reflections of the most injurious nature, respecting some of the parties with whom this unfortunate young woman was connected; which are wholly without foundation and fully contradicted by the uniform testimony of her family; who have constantly declared, and are ready and willing, whenever they may be called upon, to repeat, their entire satisfaction with the treatment she received from those under whose care they had placed her.
On Tuesday last, Master CRISPIN, a pupil at Walmore hill School, near this city, was unfortunately drowned whilst bathing in the River Severn. He had been permitted to go to a short distance on business, in company with five others, under the strictest injunctions, however, upon no account to go into the water: but, disobeying these orders, they no sooner reached the river than they agreed to bathe; when this ill fated youth, getting beyond his depth, perished within sight of his distressed companions. He was the only son of a widow lady at Bristol..
On Monday last an inquest was taken before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of PRISCILLA DANGERFIELD, who was found drowned in Froomhall brook, in the parish of Rodborough. She had been missing ten days; and the body, when found, was in a highly putrid state. Verdict, Accidental Death.
Jun 29. The following inquests were last week taken before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner: On Tuesday at Eastington, on view of the body of Mr JONATHAN JONES, of Fretherne, who was killed by a waggon load of timber falling upon his body. The accident was occasioned by the near wheel behind giving way at the part where the drag chain was fixed, on coming down a declivity in the road: he was on top of the load when the waggon overset, by the wheel breaking to pieces.
On Wednesday, at Driffield, near Cirencester, on the body of THOMAS HEMMINGS, who fell from a waggon load of hay, whilst at play with a youth on the top: they were both hurt, but HEMMING unfortunately injured the spinal marrow, became paralytic, and died in a few hours. Verdict in both cases, Accidental Death.
Jul 6. On Monday an inquest was taken at Dursley, before William Joyner, Esq. Coroner, on the body of a child, about eight years old, daughter of JOSEPH DAUNCEY, who was at play in the road near her father’s house, on Saturday evening, when a horse, which had broken loose, galloped over her; she lingered till Sunday morning. Verdict, Accidental Death.
Jul 13. On Friday an inquest was taken at Wick, in the parish of South Cerney, before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of ELIZABETH MEEK, who fell off a ladder she was descending from a hay rick, which produced so violent a concussion of the brain, that she died almost immediately after. Verdict, Accidental Death.
On Saturday evening an inquest was held before W Joyner, Esq. one of the Coroners for this county, at Ringhurst farm, in the parish of Almondsbury, on the body of JAMES HAYLE (servant to Mr WETHERELL); who was killed on the spot by falling off the shafts of a waggon, loaded with coal. Verdict, Accidental Death.
On Saturday night, as THOMAS INNS, labourer, in the employment of Mr BONNER, of Eccleswall Court, in the parish of Linton, Herefordshire, was descending from the top of a hayrick, the ladder turned with him, and he fell with such violence that several of his bones were broken, and he died next morning.
On Monday last, as JOHN JAMES, a boy about twelve years of age, servant to Mr DEW, of Brampton, near Ross, was attending a team in a hayfield, the horses suddenly took fright, when he was thrown down, and the wheels of the waggon passing over his body, he was so materially injured, that he died almost immediately.
Jul 27. A few days since, a very fine boy, about ten years of age, only son of Mrs T BLIZARD, of Tewkesbury, was found drowned in a pool of water, in a meadow adjoining that town. It is supposed that, in taking a horse to the field, he had fallen off whilst the horse was drinking at the pool, and was unable to extricate himself, or to give any alarm. The body was not discovered until every human effort for the restoration of life was vain.
Aug 24. THE LATE DUEL. Lieut. DELMONT, who was shot in a duel by Lieut. HEAZLE, in the neighbourhood of Stroud, as mentioned in our last paper, expired on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday an inquest was taken on view of the body, before William Trigg, Gent. Coroner, and a highly respectable Jury, who, after a minute investigation, which occupied eight hours, returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Lieut. HEAZLE, the challenger, and Lieut. SERGEANT, of the 61st regiment of foot, who was the only Second in this unfortunate affair.
Aug 31. The following inquests have been taken before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner: On Saturday night, at Minchinhampton, on view of the body of GILES CRIFT, tyler, who fell from the roof of the Meeting house at that place, which he was repairing, and died instantly.
On Tuesday last, at Horsley, on the body of THOMAS COOK, about twelve years of age, who was found dead; it appeared, upon dissection, his death was occasioned by the pericardium being ruptured.
On Thursday, at Bibury, on the body of WILLIAM NEWPORT, aged about thirteen years, who was killed by falling from a waggon he was driving, and the wheels passing over his body. Verdict, in the first and last cases, Accidental Death, And, in the second, Sudden Death.
Sep 7. A Coroner’s Inquest was lately holden at Redmarley d’Abitot, before George Best, Esq. (of whose patience and legal knowledge the public has experienced such abundant proof,) on view of the body of JOHN COOK, labourer; when the Jury brought in a Verdict, Death by Misadventure - the evidence having proved, that he was run over by a harvest waggon at Aubrey’s Farm, in Bromsberrow, whereby the wheels were forfeited to WHY YATE, Esq. Lord of the Manor, as a deodand.
Oct 26. INQUESTS. On Thursday last an inquest was taken at Longford Mill, Minchinhampton, before Wm Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of WILLIAM HINTON, labourer, who was killed by a quantity of earth and rubbish falling upon him, whilst digging for gravel. Verdict, Accidental Death. He has left a wife and several children.
On Monday an inquest was taken at Ross, before T Cotes, Esq. Coroner, on the body of MARY TREHERNE, whose clothes, in consequence of her sitting too near the fireplace, were caught in the flames, and she was burnt in so terrible a manner, that she soon after expired. Verdict, Accidental Death.
Nov 2. An inquest was held a few days since, before W Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of JOHN HATHAWAY, of Froombridge Mills, who fell into the Stroud Canal, on Saturday night last, and was drowned. Verdict, Accidental Death.
Nov 9. Notwithstanding the precautions taken by Magistrates, to prevent the firing of guns and pistols, and the letting off fireworks in the public streets of Bristol, a very dreadful occurrence took place there on Thursday evening (the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot.) A girl of fourteen, of the name of SARAH OSBORNE, (neice of Mr WEBB, cooper, of Sims’s Alley), was purchasing some article at a shop in the Horse Fair, when a musket or pistol, heavily laden with bullet, was fired, and penetrated the doors both of the front and back of the warehouse opposite to where the young woman was standing, passed through her head, and a pane of glass, and lodged in the wall of the house. The young creature immediately fell, and received from the bystanders the most prompt and humane assistance they could afford. She was speedily conveyed to the Infirmary, where all medical and surgical assistance proving unavailing, she expired in great agony at about six o’clock on Friday morning. We are sorry to hear that no clue has yet been found by which to discovered the perpetrator of this crime, neither is it ascertained whether the shot was fired from a horse pistol or a gun: but two men having been seen with the latter in the Churchyard, renders this supposition the most probable. The ball was not adapted to the bore of a musket, being smaller than those used in cartridges. The person who fired the shot must have been in the Churchyard, and probably aimed at the door of the house used as a watch box, at the corner near Silver street.
Nov 16. On Tuesday last, ... Same day, ROBERT GARDNER, of Chalford Lynch, fell into the Thames and Severn Canal, and was drowned. Verdict, Accidental Death.
A very melancholy event occurred at Wick, in the parish of Berkeley, on Sunday, the 8th inst. About four o’clock in the afternoon, Mr BENNETT, a respectable farmer, of the above place, and his two sons, were walking over the grounds; when, being overtaken by a thunderstorm, they imprudently took shelter under a tree. An extremely vivid flash of lightning killed a cow near the fatal place where they were standing, and, being attracted by the tree, struck the whole of them to the ground. The father and youngest son, although considerably injured, soon recovered, but the eldest, a fine youth about 18, was killed on the spot
On Tuesday last, JAMES HANCOCK, waggoner to Mr THOMAS TROTMAN, of Dursley, was found dead in the road between Cambridge and Dursley. As the wheels had gone over his body, it is supposed he fell from the shafts of the waggon, (loaded with wheat,) with which he was returning from this city.
Nov 23. Yesterday night died, at three o’clock, A.M. at Down Ampney, in this county, in the 45th year of his age, Mr ALLSOP, a respectable miller, of that place. And, at ten o’clock, same morning, died, Mrs ALLSOP, widow of the above, also aged 45. Grief for the loss of her husband is ascertained to have been the cause of her premature dissolution. They have left a family of five children to bewail their loss.
Nov 23. On Saturday night as some boys wrere throwing stones down a well, behind the unfinished houses in Great George’s street, near Brandon hill, Bristol, their attention was arrested by the appearance of something resembling a human form; which, on further search, turned out to be the body of a female child, apparently about six weeks old. On being taken out of the well, it was conveyed to St Peter’s Hospital, where an Inquest was afterwards held; and a verdict returned of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.
Nov 30. A few days since, an inquest was taken at Horsley, in this county, before Wm Trigg, Gent. Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of DANIEL NEALE, who was found dead in a small hovel at Horsley wood, where he had lived as a recluse for several years, in a parsimonious miserable state, notwithstanding he was possessed of some property. The Jury returned a verdict, Sudden Death by the Visitation of God.
Dec 14. MELANCHOLY EVENT. JAMES LEWIS, hosier, of Tewkesbury, fell through ice.
INQUESTS. The following inquests have recently been held before William Trigg, Gent. Coroner: At Leonard Stanley, on view of the body of ANSELM COLLIER, an old man, who was found dead in a well. It appeared in evidence, that the poor sufferer had been employed to deliver a letter at a gentleman’s house in the above place; and, from the extreme darkness of the night, he walked into an open well of considerable depth, and was killed: his body was not discovered till next day, when it was found with a walking stick in the right hand, and the packet he had in charge in the left, which was placed in the coat pocket. He has left a wife and family to lament his loss. Verdict, Accidental Death. And, on Friday, in the parish of Minchinhampton, on the body of ANN MILDWATERS, who was found dead. No marks of violence appearing on the body, the Jury returned a verdict, Sudden Death from some unknown cause.
Dec 28. On Tuesday an inquest was taken before Wm Trigg, Gent. Coroner, on view of the body of JASPER ROBERTS, of Kingstanley, who was found that morning lying on the high road, with but faint signs of life. It appeared that the poor man, about eight o’clock on Monday evening, had been employed to carry a parcel, to be left at a house near the Stroud Canal; into which, or an adjoining brook, he had fallen, but extricated himself from drowning. The night being extremely cold, however, he must have been unable to walk far, and was found about five o’clock the next morning, in the situation described. He was immediately conveyed to the factory of Messrs COOPER and WATHEN, where diligent means were humanely used for his recovery, but every effort proved fruitless, as he was incapable of speaking, and expired in a short time. He has left a wife and several children to lament his loss. Verdict, Died from the inclemency of the weather.